BP has ordered a total evacuation of its giant Valhall offshore oil and gas platform, located in the Norwegian North Sea, with ConocoPhillips following suit.
The evacuation comes after a severe storm battered the North Sea region over the last 24 hours, resulting in an unmanned barge breaking free from its moorings, which is now being blown directly towards the Valhall platform in heavy seas.
BP Valhall Evacuation
The oil and gas supermajor had already evacuated a large portion of the platform’s crew after receiving word of barges movements. BP had said that of the 235 offshore workers onboard the 8 platforms, 71 essential personnel had been left onboard to manage the platform.
However BP has now ordered a complete evacuation and total shutdown of the 8 platform oil and gas field, located 210 miles (340 kilometers) offshore Stavanger, after the barge changed course and started heading directly towards it.
The 360 feet (110 meters) long barge is owned by, Norwegian based, Eide Marine Group. Tug boats are currently tracking the barge and trying to gain control, however the heavy weather and seas are proving to be difficult.
ConocoPhillips Eldfisk Evacuation
ConocoPhillips have also announced that they too have evacuated all non essential personnel from their offshore Eldfisk Centre, which sits north of the Valhall offshore oil and gas field.
A spokesman from the company has also confirmed that all production has been shutdown on the company’s assets within the area.
Statoil Worker Death
The storm has sadly already claimed one life, with Norwegian state major Statoil reporting the death of one offshore worker and the injuries of a further two, after waves up to 60 feet (18m) high battered the COSL Innovator, which was operating in the the firms Troll field.